Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Wildlife officers unharmed after vehicle shooting

Urbana, Ohio – Wildlife officers Adam Smith and Jeff Tipton knew
exactly what to do when a gunman’s bullet Oct. 30 crashed through
the windshield of their DNR truck at eye level, narrowly missing
the two officers during a poaching surveillance near Kiser
Lake.

“(Tipton) fled to the rear of the truck for cover, and I opened
the door and got down behind the dashboard,” Smith said. “We’re
taught to find cover when a threat’s coming at you. Every second is
critical.”

For Smith, a wildlife officer four and a half months on the job
out of Logan County, the shooting incident was an “eventful” first,
he said.

Within minutes, Tipton was back in the truck, had switched on
the truck’s warning beacons, and started a vehicle pursuit of a
truck which had driven off after the shot was fired.

Three men were apprehended after a 4.5-mile chase with the
assistance of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and State
Highway Patrol, Tipton said.

No charges have been filed in the incident, which is being
investigated by the DNR Division of Wildlife and State Highway
Patrol in consultation with the Champaign County Prosecutor’s
Office.

“It was shocking,” said Tipton, Champaign County wildlife
officer and a 14-year DNR officer. “The training kicked in, and we
went on autopilot,” he said of the pursuit of the shooting
suspects.

Tipton said the only other time he was involved in a shooting
incident was “when a duck hunter accidently shot at me.”

Tipton and Smith had set up a surveillance for deer poachers in
a field in western Champaign County on a dark and rainy night about
11:45 p.m.

A truck came into the field, and its headlights picked up the
DNR truck, which was about 100 yards away.

“The next time I know, there is a bullet coming through the
windshield, and I was asking Jeff ‘what’s going on?,'”Smith
said.

Smith was hit in the ear by shrapnel but otherwise unharmed.

Smith said the shooting incident has taught him an important
lesson when he is in the field: “Expect the unexpected.”

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